Joseph Conrad, 25, son of Kathy and Bruce Conrad, formerly of Carbon County, was severely burned following the rescue of his dog from a fire in his home. Conrad was airlifted to Lehigh Valley Hospital for treatment of second degree burns to the fingers of his right hand.
Around noon on Wednesday, Feb. 22, Conrad was returning from the bank to his second-floor apartment at 128 Lucy Ave. in Hershey when, as he opened the door, he saw his apartment was engulfed in flames and thick smoke.
Realizing that his 7-year-old border collie mix, Lady, was trapped in the bedroom, Conrad ran through the apartment, rescuing Lady and taking her downstairs and outside the building.
Conrad returned to the burning apartment and tried to put out the fire with a blanket before becoming groggy from the smoke. As he ran from the burning apartment, he saw that four fingers of his right hand had been burned.
"The skin on his hands was peeling away," said his father.
Except for being covered in soot, Lady was unharmed. She was temporarily cared for at a neighborhood dental office. Conrad's mother, Kathy, who works at the nearby Hershey Medical Center, took him to the Hershey Medical Center Emergency Room, where an airlift was arranged to the Lehigh Valley Hospital Burn Center in Allentown.
Conrad was released the following day. While he was hospitalized, his mother took care of Lady.
Conrad is expected to return to his job as chef at Bricco, an Italian restaurant in downtown Harrisburg, in about two weeks. He started the job three months ago.
Hershey fire Chief Pat Leonard believes flames from a candle that Conrad left burning in the window may have set the curtains on fire.
In 1977, Conrad's father, former Carbon County Planning Director Bruce Conrad, began the process of resurrecting Jim Thorpe by listing the downtown area on the National Register, and creating the Mauch Chunk Historic District, the first historic district in the state.
Although an unpopular action at the time, "I needed a police escort to get home," he had said, the Mauch Chunk Historic District has become the centerpiece of Carbon County and the borough became listed as One of the Top Ten Coolest Small Towns In America.
Bruce Conrad is currently living in North Carolina.